Monday, January 05, 2009

Notes for a Sad Phoenician

You are the question to all my answers. I was an
echo without prior sound until you, silently, wrote,
“I am counting on my fingers to remember you.” If
only you had got my name right.
— Robert Kroetsch, Excerpts from the Real World

Every day I write you a letter and drop it into the postbox at the corner. Last week, each envelope pasted with Christmas stamps. Before that, a book of Queen Elizabeth II.

I am an unsigned page, resisting the pen. Your fingerprints mark me. From our house on the moon, we live airless, but breathe into each other’s mouth at regular intervals.

I am trying to keep from falling a part.

Your skin is the song of the wind through wet grass.

Yesterday morning it rained, all over the parking metres. One couple wore skis. I was meeting Amanda and Charles Earl at the Carleton Tavern. The moon fell dancing in waves.

The moon, Mary, I would give you the moon. What Jimmy Stewart promised, in the film version of It’s A Wonderful Life.

Ottawa, in winter, becomes cold and then colder. Before Edmonton, I never understood what they meant by a dry cold. I think I prefer it. Your car and blue football jersey, preparing the pan.

I write notes to Hank Williams and Jack Spicer. There is no America without you. They wear wristwatches with the hands of your name.

David Thompson, who named a river after his mentor, and lost the border between us for more than four days. His house is an archive of drawings he made of your body, your curves, your soft places. We articulate maps.

Evidence: your hairpins mixed up in my bedsheets.

When you appeared at my door, I was too stunned to speak. I went right back to bed. I am glad you accepted the invitation.

I remember the palm of my hand on your exposed back, on the night that she kissed you, somehow, for my benefit. In the karaoke bar, you were half a beer away from starting a fight, and you didn’t care who. I hadn’t seen you more beautiful.

On bad days, you’ve suggested you’d go to the moon without me. Without you, I imagine no moon.

I spend the morning rereading all of the poems I wrote you, before we met.

The bus strike continues, marking your absence. Bill Hawkins drives by in his cab, jwcurry quotes something he said in a notebook. The slow think of you as I stand, waiting for something that could still be long weeks away.

I remember your tongue on the curve of my spine. I remember the curve of my spine on your tongue. Each night sheds its differences.

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